Tahlequah Daily Press

OU Sports

July 9, 2013

VanHootegem hired as OU's track, cross country coach

When Martin Smith became Oklahoma's track and field coach in 2005, he was already a proven commodity,

He had coached Virginia and Wisconsin to cross country national championships and, in five years as Oregon track and field coach, he'd overseen a national power, one whose men's team had just finished sixth at the 2005 NCAA track and field championships.

Smith, in what had to be considered a surprise move, resigned from OU three weeks ago to lead Iowa State's track and cross country programs.

Monday, OU hired his successor.

Jim VanHootegem may not have the head coaching experience and record of Smith, or, as a career collegiate assistant, any one at all. On the other hand, kind of like Bob Stoops before he arrived in Norman, VanHootegem has experienced fabulous success as an assistant, helping to guide national championship teams and individuals over the last several years.

An assistant coach at Texas A&M from 2004 through the most recent NCAA outdoor season, VanHootegem has been associated with 12 NCAA Division I team championships as well as 27 conference championships.

Along with Aggie track coach Pat Henry, VanHootegem has helped to build one of the nation's foremost collegiate track and field programs.

The A&M men claimed outdoor national championships in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013, while the A&M women claimed national championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

"We're excited to welcome Jim VanHootegem as our head coach for men's and women's track and field and cross country," OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said. "Jim has worked for and been mentored by some of the finest coaches in the history of intercollegiate track and fuel and has built his own distinguished pedigree as a coach.

"As we moved through the search process it was evident that Jim's approach has always modeled the comparable core values and team concepts that guide our athletics programs here at OU."

Prior to arriving at A&M, VanHootegem spent three years at Miami (Fla.), a year at San Diego State, three years at Mississippi State, a year at Cal-Irvine, a year at Texas-Pan American and three years at Arkansas, all in an assistant't capacity.

In 2009, by a vote of his peers, he was named national assistant coach of the year.

"I've always possessed a great admiration for the University of Oklahoma and its commitment to continually enhancing the student-athlete experience," VanHootegem said. "The opportunity to work for a program that shares my vision for its student-athletes and boasts an extremely passionate fan base s truly a special situation."

Henry may not have liked losing his top assistant, but he endorsed OU's choice.

"Jim is a good man. He is organized and knows that it takes to build a team," the A&M head coach said. "He will surround himself with people who can build an excellent program at Oklahoma and embrace those already associated with the program … He is a good friend and will be missed greatly."

1
Text Only
OU Sports
Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Stocks
Bedlam